It’s been two years since the Aggies had a losing streak of four games or more.
So, needless to say, UC Davis is treading in unfamiliar waters.
The Aggies dropped both of their matches this weekend to UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly to slip to 16-12 on the season and 7-8 in Big West Conference play.
Three of the losses came in five-set matches. Coach Jamie Holmes said some could be attributed to the equality of the teams in the Big West.
“There is a lot of parity within the conference,” Holmes said. “The teams are equally matched and have similar styles of play. I think it’s one of those deals where teams battle and there can be only one winner.”
Friday – UCSB 3, UC Davis 2
When the Gauchos and Aggies match up, you’re practically guaranteed a five-set thriller.
The last two matches between the squads went five sets with UC Davis battling back from a 2-0 deficit to win.
On Friday, however, the tables turned and it was UCSB battling back from a two set deficit to take the match.
“I think we played fantastic against UCSB,” Holmes said. “We put ourselves in a position to win and we just didn’t. It was disappointing not to win, but it was still a fantastic match. I’m really proud of the way we played.”
UC Davis jumped out to the quick lead behind the hot swing of senior Kayla Varney. Seven of Varney’s 15 kills came in the first two sets.
A late rally helped the Gauchos take the third set. The Aggies were one point from taking the fourth game and match, but UCSB rallied for three-straight points to tie it at two sets apiece.
The Aggies were unable to overcome an early deficit in the deciding fifth set as the Gauchos took the match.
Junior Betsy Sedlak had 15 kills and had a hitting percentage of .480 to lead UC Davis.
Holmes said the Aggies’ breakdown was partially due to the youth on the roster.
“We are very young and at the end of matches when the game is on the line they tend to tighten up,” Holmes said. “Sometimes we think ahead and don’t play in the moment. We just need to take a deep breath and execute.”
Saturday – Cal Poly 3, UC Davis 1
There was only enough magic in San Luis Obispo Saturday night for one late Aggie rally against the Mustangs.
The same night the Aggie football team pulled off a thrilling comeback over the Mustangs, the UC Davis volleyball team was unable to muster up a comeback of their own.
The Aggies fell in four sets to the rival Mustangs for their fifth straight loss.
UC Davis played the match without Varney who suffered a season-ending injury the night before. Holmes believes the absence of Varney hurt the Aggies.
“We had to put in a new lineup and it took some time to adjust,” Holmes said. “We played tough but we had some ball control issues. Cal Poly is a very tough team.”
After dropping the opening set, the Aggies rallied back to tie it up at one set apiece.
UC Davis struggled to find consistency in the third and fourth games and eventually lost the match three sets to one.
Senior Melanie Adams led UC Davis with 11 kills on the night. Sophomore Allison Whitson and freshman Morgan Borch each added 10 kills of their own.
The Aggies will close out the season at home next Saturday when they take on rival Pacific. The game will be special on many levels as UC Davis will honor seniors Adams and Varney for their four years of dedication to Aggie volleyball.
JASON ALPERT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.